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Beyond the State, Beyond Europe: Defining Educational Equity for Czech Roma

Authors: Brown, Kara
Issue Date: Nov-2010
Publisher: Journal of Equity in Education
Citation: BROWN, K.. Beyond the State, Beyond Europe: Defining Educational Equity for Czech Roma. Journal of Equity in Education, North America, 1, feb. 2010. Available at:
Abstract: The struggle for equity in education is a global phenomenon. The leaders of the American civil rights movement were inspired by Gandhi’s non-violence in India, and the litigation leading to the Brown decision is now studied around the world. The 2007 European Court of Human Rights decision concerning the segregation of Roma school children in the Czech Republic is the latest manifestation of this trend. International and local actors now play key roles in defining and working toward equity. As a result, equity is no longer exclusively a national issue in Europe. This article considers the different ways European organizations and the Czech government frame the Roma inequality issue. The use of these frames to structure understandings of past policies and recommendations for future changes rest on competing definitions of equity and explanations of inequity. As the dialogue about educational equity has expanded beyond the state, conceptions of equity linked to different frames have emerged. European groups use a frame of “state as primary violator and transformer” to identify the Czech government as first and foremost responsible for inequitable realities. The Czech government frames the issue as “minority as violator and transformer” to draw attention to the equitable aims of the state and to Roma culture as the root problem. The difference in the way these groups frame the issue complicates trans-national conversations about equity, but also highlights the possibility of finding harmony between the frames in order to work towards a more equitable educational system.
Appears in Collections:Journal of Equity in Education

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